- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 10, 2019

Few adults surveyed believed social media companies should let the president use their platform unchecked, the results of a recent nationwide polled suggested Wednesday.

Roughly three-in-four adults surveyed by Morning Consult said social media companies should either ban or suspend the president’s account if it posts or shares offensive content.

Pollsters did not ask specifically about President Trump. Respondents were told several different occupations, among them U.S. president, and asked if social media companies should penalize a person in that position if they are found to have circulated offensive content from their account.

Seventy-four percent of people surveyed said the U.S. president should face some sort of repercussions if he or she shares offensive content online: 36% said they should be temporarily suspended in such a situation, and 38% said they would have be outright banned.

Thirteen percent of respondents said the U.S. president should be neither suspended nor banned for sharing offensive content on social media, and 13% said they had no opinion.



Respondents answered nearly identically in response to similar questions about other occupations, however. Nearly eight-in-ten people surveyed said that politicians, business leaders, journalists, movie stars and celebrities who share offensive content on social media should be accordingly banned or suspended, suggesting respondents largely agree that posting offensive content on social media should result in some sort of repercussion regardless of the person responsible.

Conducted by Morning Consult, the same survey of 2,200 adults found that 59% want the government to have a hand in crafting the content moderation policies used by social media companies, and that only 10% reported currently having a “great deal of confidence” in companies successfully removing offensive content from their platform.

Mr. Trump is a prolific and popular Twitter user, and he regularly relies on the platform to instantly reach millions of social media followers. Critics of the president have previously called his tweets into question, however, including posts that have teetered on violating the platform’s terms of service.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, called on Twitter to suspend Mr. Trump after he shared a tweet last month that falsely implied she had been dancing during the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“The President of the United States is continuing to spread lies that put my life at risk,” Ms. Omar tweeted in response. “What is Twitter doing to combat this misinformation?”

More recently, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was pressed by a White House hopeful last week to suspend Mr. Trump’s account after he tweeted a series of attacks targeting the intelligence community whistleblower that triggered Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry into the president.

“These are blatant threats,” Sen. Kamala Harris, California Democrat, said regarding Mr. Trump’s tweets about the whistleblower. “We need a civil society, not a civil war.”

Twitter does not screen or remove potentially offensive content, but it may consider targeted abuse or harassment as a violation of the platform’s rules, according to the company.

The company announced in June new policies in June for tweets that might violated the platform’s policies but might otherwise be in the public’s interest, including tweets from certain government officials. Twitter said it would add a notice to those tweets “to provide additional context and clarity,” adding that they would also not be “algorithmically elevated.”

Facebook has since come under fire from for allowing an ad placed by Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign attacking Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, meanwhile. Both the Biden campaign and Democratic National Committee took issue with the ads and said they should be removed for being misleading, but Facebook said in a letter this week that the ads do not violate any of the platform’s policies and will accordingly remain running.

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